1 January 1956
Isahaya, Nagasaki, Japan
|Height||179 cm (5 ft 10+1⁄2 in)|
Kōji Hashimoto (橋本 広司, Hashimoto Kōji, born 1 January 1956), known professionally as Kōji Yakusho (役所 広司, Yakusho Kōji), is a Japanese actor. He is well known for his starring roles in Shall We Dance? (1996), Cure (1997), Memoirs of a Geisha (2005), 13 Assassins (2010), The Third Murder (2017), The Blood of Wolves (2018) and Under the Open Sky (2020). He is also best known internationally for his role as Takuro Yamashita in Shōhei Imamura's The Eel, which won the Palme d'Or at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival and as Yasujiro Wataya in Alejandro González Iñárritu's Babel (2006) which was nominated for Best Picture at the 79th Academy Awards. Yakusho has won three Japan Academy Prize for his performances in Shall We Dance?, The Third Murder and The Blood of Wolves.
Yakusho was born in Isahaya, Nagasaki, the youngest of five brothers. After graduation from Nagasaki Prefectural High School of Technology in 1974, he worked at the Chiyoda municipal ward office, or kuyakusho, in Tokyo, from which he later took his stage name. In 1976, he saw a production of Maxim Gorky's The Lower Depths and was inspired, first to watch, and then later to take part in, as many plays as possible.
In the spring of 1978 he auditioned for Tatsuya Nakadai's the Mumeijuku (Studio for Unknown Performers) acting studio, and was one of four chosen out of 800 applicants. While at the school he met actress Saeko Kawatsu, whom he married in 1982. Their son was born in 1985.
In 1983, he landed the role of Oda Nobunaga in the year-long NHK drama Tokugawa Ieyasu and was catapulted to fame. He also appeared in a TV version of Miyamoto Musashi from 1984 to 1985. For several years, he played Kuji Shinnosuke (or "Sengoku"), one of the title characters in the jidaigeki Sambiki ga Kiru!. He played a major character in Juzo Itami's 1986 Tampopo.
In 1988, he was given a special award for work in cinema by the Japanese Minister of Education, Science, Sports and Culture and continued to appear in films and in a number of TV shows through the '90s.
In 1996 and 1997, Yakusho enjoyed several major successes. The Eel, directed by Shohei Imamura, in which he played the eel-loving lead, won the Palme d'Or at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival. Lawrence Van Gelder in the New York Times called his performance "unerring." A Lost Paradise, about a double-suicide, was second only to Princess Mononoke at the Japanese box office.
International breakthrough: Shall We Dance?
Shall We Dance? was such a major hit in Japan that it inspired a domestic dance craze. Ballroom groups and dance schools multiplied in the country after the film's release, and people who previously would never admit to taking lessons announced that they did with pride. Director Masayuki Suo said of his lead, who until that point was known mostly for playing good-looking samurai, "we thought he could play this overworked, tired Japanese businessman, and he did.... [H]e pulled everything off and took his dance training so seriously."
The film also was one of Japan's highest-grossing movies outside the country. It earned $9.5 million in the US and inspired a remake starring Jennifer Lopez and Richard Gere, with Gere playing Yakusho's role.
Yakusho next won the Hochi Film Award for Best Actor for Bounce Ko Gals, a film which dealt with high school prostitution specifically, and money worship in general. He collaborated with horror director Kiyoshi Kurosawa in Cure, License to Live, Seance, Charisma, Pulse, Doppelganger, Retribution, and Tokyo Sonata. Yakusho found further recognition with international audiences to some extent with roles in such films as Memoirs of a Geisha and Babel. In the latter, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, he played the father of the deaf-mute played by Rinko Kikuchi.
In 2009, he debuted as director and writer of Toad's Oil. In 2010 and 2011 he was part of both ensemble casts in Takashi Miike's samurai films, 13 Assassins and Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai. The latter was in 3D and the first 3D film to be in competition at the Cannes Film Festival.
In the 2011 war drama film Rengō Kantai Shirei Chōkan: Yamamoto Isoroku, Yakusho portrayed Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto. Yakusho was reportedly the only actor considered for the role; had he not accepted it, the film would have been canceled.
In 2018 he was in The Blood of Wolves.
|1979||Hunter in the Dark||Kuwano||Hideo Gosha|
|The Last Game||Kihachi Okamoto|
|1980||Twelve Months||Young soldier (voice)||Kimio Yabuki|
|1981||Willful Murder||Journalist||Kei Kumai|
|Eternal Monument||Otaka||Tadashi Imai|
|The Legend of Sayo||Hatsutaro||Tetsutaro Murano|
|1985||Tampopo||Man in White Suit||Juzo Itami|
|1987||The Great Department Store Robbery||Cello player||Azuma Morisaki|
|1988||Another Way: D-Kikan Joho||Naoto Sekiya||Kōsaku Yamashita||Lead role|
|1990||Under Aurora||Genzo Tamiya||Toshio Gotō||Lead role|
|1993||Gurenbana||Kenzo Nakada||Mamoru Watanabe|
|Drug Connection||Ryosuke Kano||Shōkaku Baba||Lead role|
|1994||Osaka Gokudo Senso: Shinoidare||Ippei Yoshikawa||Tatsuoki Hosono|
|1995||Kamikaze Taxi||Kantake||Masato Harada||Lead role|
|1996||Shall We Dance?||Shohei Sugiyama||Masayuki Suo||Lead role|
|Sleeping Man||Kamimura||Kōhei Oguri|
|Shabu Gokudo||Makabe||Tatsuoki Hosono||Lead role|
|1997||Lost Paradise||Shoichiro Kuki||Yoshimitsu Morita||Lead role|
|The Eel||Takuro Yamashita||Shohei Imamura||Lead role|
|Bounce Ko Gals||Oshima||Masato Harada||Lead role|
|Cure||Kenichi Takabe||Kiyoshi Kurosawa||Lead role|
|1998||Bonds||Takaaki Ise/Tetsuro Haga||Kichitaro Negishi|
|Tadon to chikuwa||Kida||Jun Ichikawa||Lead role|
|1999||License to Live||Fujimori||Kiyoshi Kurosawa|
|Charisma||Goro Yabuike||Kiyoshi Kurosawa||Lead role|
|Spellbound||Hiroshi Kitano||Masato Harada||Lead role|
|2000||Swing Man||Movie star||Tetsu Maeda|
|Dora-heita||Koheita "Dora-heita" Mochizuki||Kon Ichikawa||Lead role|
|Eureka||Makoto Sawai||Shinji Aoyama||Lead role|
|2001||Pulse||Ship captain||Kiyoshi Kurosawa||Cameo|
|Warm Water Under a Red Bridge||Yosuke Sasano||Shōhei Imamura||Lead role|
|2002||The Choice of Hercules||Atsuyuki Sassa||Masato Harada||Lead role|
|2003||Doppelganger||Michio Hayasaki||Kiyoshi Kurosawa||Lead role|
|Fireflies: River of Light||Mr. Takiguchi||Hiroshi Sugawara|
|2004||The Hunter and the Hunted||Detective Jin Sekikawa||Izuru Narushima||Lead role|
|Tokyo: Level One||The Governor of Tokyo||Gen Yamakawa||Lead role|
|Lakeside Murder Case||Shunsuke Namiki||Shinji Aoyama||Lead role|
|University of Laughs||Mutsuo Sakisaka||Mamoru Hoshi||Lead role|
|2005||Lorelei: The Witch of the Pacific Ocean||Masami Shin'ichi||Shinji Higuchi||Lead role|
|Memoirs of a Geisha||Nobu||Rob Marshall||American film|
|2006||The Uchōten Hotel||Heikichi Shindo||Kōki Mitani||Lead role|
|Babel||Yasujiro Wataya||Alejandro González Iñárritu||Foreign film|
|Retribution||Noboru Yoshioka||Kiyoshi Kurosawa||Lead role|
|2007||I Just Didn't Do It||Masayoshi Arakawa||Masayuki Suo|
|Argentine Baba||Satoru Wakui||Naoki Nagao||Lead role|
|Silk||Hara Jubei||François Girard||Foreign film|
|Walking My Life||Yukihiro Fujiyama||Satoshi Isaka||Lead role|
|2008||Paco and the Magical Book||Onuki||Tetsuya Nakashima||Lead role|
|Tokyo Sonata||The Robber||Kiyoshi Kurosawa|
|2009||Mt. Tsurugidake||Morisaku Furuta||Daisaku Kimura|
|Gelatin Silver Love||Client||Kazumi Kurigami|
|Toad's Oil||Takuro Yazawa||Himself||Lead role, also director and writer|
|2010||13 Assassins||Shinzaemon Shimada||Takashi Miike||Lead role|
|The Last Ronin||Magozaemon Senoo||Shigemichi Sugita||Lead role|
|2011||Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai||Kageyu Saito||Takashi Miike|
|Isoroku||Isoroku Yamamoto||Izuru Narushima||Lead role|
|Chronicle of My Mother||Kōsaku||Masato Harada||Lead role|
|The Woodsman and the Rain||Katsuhiko||Shūichi Okita||Lead role|
|2012||A Terminal Trust||Shinzo Egi||Masayuki Suo|
|2013||The Kiyosu Conference||Shibata Katsuie||Kōki Mitani||Lead role|
|2014||The World of Kanako||Akikazu Fujishima||Tetsuya Nakashima||Lead role|
|A Samurai Chronicle||Shūkoku Toda||Takashi Koizumi||Lead role|
|2015||The Emperor in August||Korechika Anami||Masato Harada||Lead role|
|The Boy and the Beast||Kumatetsu (voice)||Mamoru Hosoda||Lead role|
|Mifune: The Last Samurai||Himself||Steven Okazaki||Documentary film|
|2017||Sekigahara||Tokugawa Ieyasu||Masato Harada|
|Oh Lucy!||Komori||Atsuko Hirayanagi||American-Japanese film|
|The Third Murder||Misumi||Hirokazu Kore-eda|
|2018||The Blood of Wolves||Shōgo Ōgami||Kazuya Shiraishi||Lead role|
|Mirai||Grandpa (voice)||Mamoru Hosoda|
|2019||Wings Over Everest||Jiang Yuesheng||Fay Yu||Lead role; Chinese film|
|2021||Under the Open Sky||Masao Mikami||Miwa Nishikawa||Lead role|||
|The Supporting Actors: The Movie||Himself||Daigo Matsui|||
|Belle||Suzu's father (voice)||Mamoru Hosoda|||
|2022||The Pass: Last Days of the Samurai||Kawai Tsugunosuke||Takashi Koizumi||Lead role|||
|2023||Untitled Wim Wenders Project||Wim Wenders||Lead role|||
|1980||Natchan no shashinkan||Kayama||NHK||Asadora|
|Shishi no Jidai||Murakami Taiji||NHK||Taiga drama|
|1981||Onna Taikōki||Oda Nobutaka||NHK||Taiga drama|
|1983||Tokugawa Ieyasu||Oda Nobunaga||NHK||Taiga drama|
|1984–1985||Miyamoto Musashi||Miyamoto Musashi||NHK||Lead role|
|1987–1995||Sanbiki ga Kiru!||Kuji Shin'nosuke||TV Asahi|
|1990||Moeyo Ken||Hijikata Toshizō||TV Tokyo||Lead role; miniseries|
|1991||Takeda Shingen||Takeda Shingen||TBS||Lead role; TV movie|
|1994||Hana no Ran||Ibuki Saburo Nobutsuna||NHK||Taiga drama|
|2000||Aikotoba wa Yūki||Jintaro Akatsuki||Fuji TV||Lead role|
|Seance||Sato||Fuji TV||Lead role; TV movie|
|2010||Wagaya no Rekishi||Narrator||Fuji TV||Miniseries|
|2014||Oyaji no Senaka||Sōsuke Aoki||TBS||Lead role; episode 2|
|2017||Ties: A Miraculous Colt||Masayuki||NHK||Lead role; miniseries|
|Rikuoh||Kōichi Miyazawa||TBS||Lead role|
|The Supporting Actors||Himself||TV Tokyo||Episode 1|
|2018||The Supporting Actors 2||Himself||TV Tokyo||Episode 1|
|2019||Idaten||Kanō Jigorō||NHK||Taiga drama|
|2021||Pension Metsa||Tsuneki||Wowow||Episode 1|||
|Matrilineal Family||Yoshizō Yajima||TV Asahi||Special appearance; miniseries|||
Awards and nominations
|2012||Medal with Purple Ribbon|||
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- Jonathan Crow (2013). "Koji Yakusho". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Baseline & All Movie Guide. Archived from the original on 2013-03-29. Retrieved 2012-08-16.
- "第46回報知映画賞ノミネート決定". PR Times. Retrieved November 13, 2021.
- "Festival de Cannes: The Eel". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-09-24.
- "The Eel:Passion That Seethes Under the Surface". New York Times. 1998-08-21. Retrieved 2012-08-16.
- "Masayuki Suo's Whole Wide Whirl". San Francisco Chronicle. 1997-07-13.
- "Shall We Dance?". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-08-16.
- Mes, Tom (15 August 2001). "Midnight Eye review: License to Live". Midnight Eye.
- Kipp, Jeremiah (June 20, 2005). "Pulse". Slant Magazine.
- Mes, Tom (15 April 2004). "Midnight Eye review: Doppelgänger". Midnight Eye.
- Bourne, Christopher (January 27, 2012). "Review: Kiyoshi Kurosawa's "Retribution"". Meniscus.
- Rafferty, Terrence (March 6, 2009). "This Time, the Horror's in the Normality". The New York Times.
- "Review: Babel". LA Weekly. 2006-10-26. Retrieved 2012-08-16.
- "Yakusho Koji portrays WWII naval commander Yamamoto Isoroku". TokyoGraph. May 14, 2011. Retrieved 28 March 2013.
- "役所広司、西川美和監督と初タッグ！ 仲野太賀、長澤まさみら共演「すばらしき世界」21年公開". eiga.com. Retrieved July 8, 2020.
- "映画「バイプレイヤーズ」の新キャスト8名解禁！有村架純、天海祐希、役所広司ら". Natalie. Retrieved February 4, 2021.
- "役所広司、3度目の細田守監督作品に参加 『竜とそばかすの姫』主人公の父親役". Oricon. Retrieved May 28, 2021.
- "峠 最後のサムライ". eiga.com. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
- "ヴィム・ヴェンダース監督、役所広司主演で日本の公衆トイレを映画に". Crank-in!. Retrieved May 12, 2022.
- "役所広司＆石橋静河＆光石研ら、小林聡美と2人芝居「ペンションメッツァ」". Cinema Cafe. Retrieved December 3, 2020.
- "役所広司 テレ朝「女系家族」に特別出演 遺産相続争い発端の当主・矢島嘉蔵役". Sponichi. Retrieved December 2, 2021.
- "バンド・オブ・ブラザース". Warner Bros. Retrieved December 31, 2021.
- ""紫綬褒章"役所広司、女優陣の祝福に感無量". Oricon. Retrieved January 20, 2022.